On the edge of the Italian peninsula and overlooking the Gulf of Squillace, Villa RA was designed by the sister studio MORQ as a summer retreat in the Mediterranean landscape of Calabria. Cubist in volume and earthy in texture, the low, compact structure walks a fine line between modern and traditional architecture; perched on a ridge 300 metres above the sea, the villa ‘looks out’ to the Ionian Sea stretching to the south as well as the surrounding mountain peaks. What makes the building an integral part of its surroundings is its unique monochromatic appearance. The house is decorated both externally and internally with ‘Cocciopesto’, a type of soil-like plaster whose unique colour required rigorous sampling and numerous tests to accurately define it in order to ensure visual continuity between landscape and architecture. The boundaries between the natural and the built are made even more indistinct by a perimeter band of crushed local stones that intrude into the oaks, shrubs and cacti. Although the house was designed for a couple, the brief called for spacious indoor and outdoor living spaces that could accommodate large social gatherings for entertaining. A different kind of demarcation-within the villa-is defined by the east-west axis that proceeds from the common areas to the private ones. The living room is undoubtedly the heart of the house, as its sheltered position insulates it more than any other part of the property from the heat and summer sun. Supported by a strict minimalist décor and a limited palette of natural materials such as wood and stone, the interior design reflects the rugged character of the landscape.
Photo by Givlio Aristide